Shaking the Laundry

Our family was blessed to live a few hours from my husband’s grandmother for several years before she passed away. In that time, she became another grandmother to me and I cherish the memories of my time in her home. 

One day, while she was doing laundry, she commented about how busy everyone is. “Look,” she said, “It doesn’t take that much time to shake out the clothes as they come out of the wash. You can save yourself so much ironing time by just shaking each thing out a little before throwing it in the dryer. And everything dries more quickly too, not all clumped up after spinning in the washing machine.”

I can still remember my reaction to this statement. Number 1, I don’t iron. Pretty much never, do I iron anything. Number 2, I have absolutely no time to be shaking out baby clothes because I don’t want them too wrinkly. At the time of this conversation, I was pregnant with our 5th baby and our oldest was only 7.

But this memory has stuck with me. It’s several years later, we have 6 kids now, and I still probably don’t have time for shaking out laundry. Except I do, if I’m going to be truly honest.

I was spending my day recently thinking about the Gospel parable of the poor widow and the two coins from Mark 12:41-44 and this was the memory that came to me. The widow gave fully of what she had, she didn’t hold anything back from God. She trusted that He was big enough to care for her as she opened her hands and let fall from them all that she had. How she challenges me to open my hands a bit further, to offer to God more of myself.

Just as the woman wasn’t making grand gestures by the world’s standards, I am not called to either. I am living an ordinary life, with mundane daily tasks and often repetitious chores. What use are these little tasks when compared with the influencers I see on YouTube or the writers and speakers who inspire hundreds, millions? They are worth more than gold if they are to be the path upon which I arrive in heaven. It all starts with doing them with that purpose in mind. 

What does this look like in my life? It means slowing down to shake out the laundry. And that’s what I did with the sheets that day. This simple action afforded me the time to be thankful for the conveniences like a washer and dryer, that my kids have enough clothes to wear, and Ben has a job which allows me to stay at home with our little ones. By being fully present in my task at hand, I am not filling my mind with anxieties for the future or fussing over past sorrows. If my mind is full of gratitude, it naturally inclines itself to a Godly perspective. Through God’s eyes, no moment, no chore, is wasted time if it is done in His presence and as a gift for His glory.

This perspective of living in the present moment, that no moment is wasted in God’s eyes, and that my work however small or humble from a worldly perspective has significance in my life’s journey is what I am carrying forward as the New Year continues to unfold.

Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com

Diocesan Gospel Reflection

I don’t know if everyone is aware, but during the past year or so I’ve been contributing to the Diocesan.com website’s daily Gospel reflections. These are written by a number of contributors for every day of the year. Today happened to be one of my days and I have found myself continuing to reflect upon what I was inspired to write. The Holy Spirit seems to want me to share the message of God’s over abundance and generosity when it comes to His creation. Below is what I wrote for Diocesan. If you’re interested in receiving these reflections, the following link will take you to the website and you can sign up from there.


I think we are often afraid to ask God for things. We don’t want to seem greedy or selfish. We want to feel self sufficient and capable. And what person hasn’t heard a comment like, “Well I asked God for patience and He gave me so many opportunities to practice I just couldn’t handle it!”

Yet the apostles in today’s Gospel seek Jesus out and ask Him to teach them to pray. Jesus gifts them the most foundational prayer in Christianity, The Our Father. Jesus then continues, as if this intimate prayer wasn’t already revolutionary enough, and explains further how we ought to approach God in prayer.

Perhaps this is where the revolutionary aspect of the Our Father comes into play. Throughout the Old Testament, God was present with His people, but they could not see Him. The Holy of Holies in the Temple was only to be entered once a year on Yom Kippur. It was the most sacred place, the place where God met His people.

Jesus draws us into intimate communion with God, His Father. We don’t have to wait for a single day of the year, we don’t need a priest to pray for us. Jesus ushers into being a new relationship between God and His creation. Through Jesus, we become God’s children. It is fitting then, that Jesus asks the disciples to consider how a father responds to the requests of his children. If earthly fathers and mothers know how to treat little ones, how much more will God generously give to His beloved children?

Here is the trick, however. God desires a relationship with us. This isn’t a forced situation. In order for God to give, we must turn to Him and ask. And ask and ask and believe and believe. God desires every good thing for us and works all things for our benefit. This does not mean we will not experience trials or sorrow. It does not mean we will magically receive whatever we ask for – it didn’t work with our parents when we wanted that pony when we were 7, it doesn’t work that way with God either.

Jesus shows us the way. Come before our Father as a child, with empty hands. Ask in earnest, with every expectation that what is best for us along our journey to heaven, will be given to us.

To Rise Up

Jesus is Risen! Alleluia!

For Lent this year I tried to spend time every day reading through the Gospels with my Word on Fire Bible. This Bible is gorgeous and full of so much goodness. I really appreciate how Bishop Barron and his team incorporated reflections, explanations, word study, art, even poetry, to accompany the Gospel text. I enjoyed slowing down and taking my time to read everything on each page.

While the takeaways were many and I hope to write about more of them, for this Easter Day one thing in particular stayed with me. Early in Matthew’s Gospel he describes his calling to follow Jesus. Matthew was sitting at his collections table, most likely surrounded by others. Jesus singles Matthew out of the crowd and simply says, “Follow me.”

Matthew says he, “rose up and followed him.” End scene. There isn’t much in these few words. However, there is so much when you know ancient languages! I do not so I, like so many of us, rely on others to illuminate what is hidden in our English translation. When Matthew says he “rose up” or in some translations, “got up,” the specific verb he uses is anastas. Not so coincidentally, when we fast forward to Jesus’ Resurrection, the same root word (this time anastasis) is used by Gospel writers to describe the phenomenon.

Jesus, as we know, rose up transformed. His disciples did not always immediately recognize Him. He could walk through walls and locked doors. He was Jesus, yet He was fundamentally changed, something new that had never before been in the world. Looking back over his life, Matthew recognized that his own call by the Lord marked something significant. He had been changed to the core in that moment, a complete transformation from one man to a new man. A resurrection with a little “r” that points toward Jesus’ redemptive Resurrection which transformed the world.

How much of the Bible do we miss in these little word nuances? I am so thankful for the Bible editors and translators who take the time to shed light on the text for those of us unable to access the original languages.

As you celebrate Easter today and throughout the next week, perhaps take some time to look back on your own life. Have you had a moment where you “rose up” to follow Jesus? How has your life changed because He has called you? And make no mistake, He has, He is, and He will always be calling you to further transformational relationship with Him.